When I see a cat I have to stroke it. After I got a big infection in Indonesia, I became more careful with pet animals when traveling. I checked what I had done the days before the infection. I had visited the monkey forest where you come into contact with monkeys, but I also discovered that I had petted several dogs and cats. In the end my infection due to food turned out not to be well prepared. But it was an eye opener for me that animals in certain countries can also be dangerous for your own health. You don’t know an animal that you want to pet and if it would scratch or bite you could have a big problem. This is because pathogens are transmitted. Infections that can be transmitted from animals to humans are called zoonoses.
How zoonoses can be transmitted from cats to humans
Direct contact with the cat. For example, does the cat have fungal infection? By stroking or hugging the infected cat, it can be transmitted to humans. Direct contact also includes biting and scratching, which can make you very sick. Have claw sctatches and bite wounds treated by your doctor or at the first aid. Rabies and cat claw scratch disease (Bartonella henselae) can be transmitted in this way.
Indirect contact. If the cat has just released its faeces in the garden or sandbox, it may contain roundworm eggs. If your child or you then come to earth or sand with your hands, it is important that you wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. If your hands are washed well, then usually nothing happens. If you do not wash your hands or your child’s hands properly, you can become infected in this way. Eating raw vegetables from the garden that are not well washed can also cause infection.
Via insects or ticks. Lyme disease can be transmitted via a tick bite. But the Bartonella henselae disease can not only be transmitted through direct contact with your cat, biting and scratching. But also by flea bits.
Rabies is not only transferable by dogs
The name rabies is perhaps somewhat confusing. But (rabies) can also be transmitted by other animals such as monkeys and cats.
What you can do yourself to keep the risk of infection as low as possible
Change the litter box every day
Keep your home clean
Keep cat service separate from your own
Don’t let your cat come on the counter
Wash your hands regularly
Try to prevent biting and scratching (if you are bitten deeply or scratched please contact your doctor)
Avoid contact with unknown or sick animals (try to resist the urge to pet every animal)
Keep your nails as short as possible
Sometimes your cat licks your arm for example, make sure that a cat can never lick wounds, possibly by covering it with plasters
The positive effect of cats on health
But do not forget that in general having a cat has a positive effect on health. Children who grow up with cats generally suffer less from allergies. And adults who have a cat usually go to the doctor less often and suffer less stress. Healthy cats generally do not spread pathogens either. That is why it is important to keep your cat healthy and to treat it regularly against fleas and worms.
Also interesting: how do you recognize a healthy cat?